Reducing a Carbon Footprint

Reducing a Carbon Footprint

Rock Hill Schools deploys low light surveillance cameras designed to deter vandalism and save energy

Rock Hill School District was looking to upgrade its video surveillance system while aligning with its efforts to save energy. Sustainability is an important part of the overall strategy because it not only saves taxpayer money, but also reduces the school system’s carbon footprint. Toward this end, Rock Hill Schools employs a full-time Energy Systems Manager, Kim Melander.

“With every project, we measure the energy consumption and report to school board and administration,” Melander said. “We’re always looking for the best application with best efficiency.”

A team of Rock Hill administrators determined that a “campus blackout” approach was effective in deterring crime and saving energy.

“We worked with local law enforcement, school administrators, our energy manager and our safety director when looking at technical solutions for our campus,” said Anthony Cox, Deputy Superintendent for Rock Hill Schools. “It turns out the requirement to keep lights on all the time to deter crime is actually somewhat of a myth. A lot of research says that keeping the lights off will lower the crime rate.”

Seeing Clearly in the Dark

The quality of video footage on a dark campus can be an issue. While a blackout policy may reduce crime, it also decreases the effectiveness of traditional surveillance technology to identify perpetrators. Thus, the challenge for Rock Hill was to find a video surveillance system that could operate effectively with high image quality on a dark campus.

Axis Lightfinder technology enables surveillance cameras to produce high-resolution, color images in extremely low light. Incorporating a CMOS sensor with exceptional light sensitivity, cameras that offer Axis Lightfinder can deliver sharp, clear color images in as little light as 0.18 lux (and sometimes less).

In environments with extreme lighting challenges, Rock Hill Schools can still use less LED lighting to meet their efficiency goals. For these areas, the security system utilizes Axis OptimizedIR technology embedded on Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras. This allows the IR illuminator capabilities inside the camera to draw from the same power source while enhancing image usability in near complete darkness. Without it, the system could need additional illumination that would require more energy and could reveal the camera’s field of view to potential intruders.

“Getting a clear visual image, being able to capture that person’s face and send it to school administrators for identification,” Director of Risk Security Emergency Management for Rock Hill Schools Kevin Wren said. “That works perfectly to identify the perpetrator.”

Improved Safety with Significant Costs and Energy Savings

Rock Hill was able to maintain its “campus blackout” approach without sacrificing safety and security. In fact, the security of the school buildings has been enhanced, with a lower number of incidents reported. At the same time, the 27 schools had significant electrical savings. In terms of lighting costs Melander estimates that the campus blackout policy can save approximately $3,500 for an elementary school, $7,000 for a middle school and up to $10,000 for a high school.

“The system that had the best crimedeterring capability was also very good with sustainability,” Cox said. “Safety is first but efficiency is also very important for the taxpayer. Every dollar you’re spending on the operational side, you’re not spending on the academic side. We very much want to keep our cash in the classroom.”

In addition, all Axis equipment is designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, further augmenting the school district’s policy to maximize sustainability whenever possible.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

Digital Edition

  • Campus Security & Life Safety Magazine - November / December 2022

    November / December 2022


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    • Why Practice Makes Perfect
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